As a parent, it can be difficult to learn of your child’s learning disability. A basic definition of a learning disability is an impairment that affects the way a child learns and can make it more difficult for them to reach age typical goals. There are a variety of different strategies and techniques that can be used to help a child with a learning disability achieve their educational goals.
photo credit: Tommy Ellis
An important place to start is with educating yourself is with your local school district on their policies, procedures, and programs available for your child. A child’s eligibility to Special education services is not to be identified by one limited test. Arizona implements the right for all children to have a free appropriate public education, FAPE. It is part of Arizona specified process to identify, locate, and evaluate all students with disabilities. This means, whether the child is at a private or public school, teachers need to be aware of their students needs. The child’s IEP, individual education plan, team, which includes family and professionals, should decide the child’s need for special education and for other available services. Children are also to be re-evaluated, every three years, throughout their educational process. These assessments will be followed with evaluation reports that summarize the child’s current level of development. Children are to be assessed by tests that are none prejudice and not bias to any group/demographic of people. According to Arizona Department of Education’s website, http://www.ade.az.gov,
“For a child suspected of having a specific learning disability, the documentation of the team’s determination of eligibility will include: whether the child has a specific learning disability; the basis for making the determination; the relevant behavior noted during the observation of the child; the relationship of that behavior to the child’s academic functioning; the educationally relevant medical findings, if any; whether there is severe discrepancy between achievement and ability that is not correctable without special education and related services; the determination of the team concerning the effects of environment, cultural or economic disadvantage; and each team member will certify in writing whether the report reflects his/her conclusion. If it does not reflect his/her conclusion, the team member must submit a separate statement presenting his or her conclusion.”
Each individual school district has separate programs. Many start for children at the age of three. Most often these programs are great for children with language impairments and other early-diagnosed disabilities. In many special education classes, speech therapist are available to aid in directing educational activities to include components aimed at increasing language skills. Speech therapists may also be available for one-on-one consultation with children. There are also resource teachers available in most schools for more of a tutoring program to assist children in specific areas/subjects that they need more help with during their education. As a parent, it is important to ask your specific school what they offer, so that your child can get the best education for them to succeed to their full potential.
With both learning disabilities and language disorders, there are lots of questions for parents to find the answers to. There is information on the web, in libraries, and available through government and school programs. Take advantage of these resources so that your child can maximize their education experience.